Is Bigger Better?
By Kevin Moore
Rock Ridge Windmills  (The whole story)   

 Steve and I stopped by Rocky’s on the 
way home. As the three of us examined 
Steve’s 16-foot gearbox, Rocky stated that 
he knew a guy who had a 16-foot Aermotor 
that he was trying to sell. Rocky said 
the guy was having a hard time getting 
rid of the mill because it was, 
“just too big.”
 All the way home I worked on my plan to 
justify the “bigger is better” sales pitch 
I was planning to give my wife. Let’s see,
let’s go for the statistical and scientific 
approach. YES, that will work, I said to 
myself. I’ll use the Jack Webb approach. 
Just the facts and she will be asking me why 
I didn’t bring the mill home with me.
  I made the following notes: 
Aermotor Sixteen Foot - I wrote across the 
top of the page. Model 702. Newer Model, 
I wrote in bold. Cost New  $9,780.00.
Stroke  14 7/8" & 11 3/8".
Lifting capacity of over 900 feet!
Stub tower included! Stub towers cost 
over $800.00 new. I added an underline to 
this important item. A free stub tower, 
what a deal, I said to myself!
 470 Gallons an hour with a three inch 
cylinder! I pushed so hard on my pencil
to emphasize that point, that I broke 
the pencil. My goodness, a 16 footer 
could run a three-inch cylinder in a 
light breeze, I thought as I searched 
for a new pencil. 
 Good night, she’ll pump 1,850 Gallons 
an hour with a six-inch cylinder on 
an 85-foot lift. “That’s a man’s mill,” 
I said out loud. As I let out a whistle, 
I noticed that a highway patrolman 
was sitting next to me. I wondered 
how long he’s been watching me dig 
through the stack of papers on my 
dash and talking to myself.
 Always end with a strong point, 
I’ve been told. One more number is all 
I needed to present this amazingly powerful 
group of numbers to my wife. 
What is my closing line? I checked 
all my numbers, as I quickly 
cleaned up the mess on the dash. 
“Oh yes, here is a powerful number. 
Windmill weighs 2,380 pounds.”
 What!  2,380 pounds, that can’t be right. Quickly I dug out a second 
Aermotor tech paper and found a page entitled Aermotor Specifications. 
Here we go, 2,380 must be a misprint from the newer catalog.. 
Model F 16 Foot crated motor 1,180 pounds. That’s more like it I thought. 
No wait! I read on and there it was--16 Foot Model F Complete Mill  
2,380 pounds. 
 Verification, yes 
let’s verify that 
ugly number, I thought. 
O.K. stop, think 
stupid, we are 
using math here. 
So let’s fall back
to the known constant.
An eight-foot Aermotor is 
about 350 pounds. A sixteen 
footer is twice as big, so why 
does it weigh so much more?
 No, wait!  We are talking about a circle. 
A flash of the face of my eighth grade 
math teacher zipped through my mind.  
“Double a circle and you will get four 
times the area. Remember pi R squared.”
 Yes, it’s a math trick. An eight-foot 
circle is about 50 square feet, but a 
16-foot circle is a little over 200 
square feet. My gosh, it’s true that
monster tips the scales at 2,380 pounds. 
A 16-foot windmill is four times larger 
than an eight-footer.
 My wife will never go for this deal.
I’m dead. I’ll never talk her into this one. 
 I’ve never been known to give up easily 
and for the rest of the five-hour drive I 
worked over my battle plan. 
 As soon as I jumped out of the truck I 
laid the facts down to Cookie. 
I fired off with a quick warning shot to 
let her know I was in the mood to buy a 
big mill. “This is one great deal and if I 
don’t grab it quick, someone else will.”
I looked Cookie right in the eyes and 
laid down the long list of facts, 
I hardly stopped to take a breath. 
She looked hypnotized. 
 I was on a roll. She just tipped her 
head and listened intently.I closed with 
the classic husband line, “Well, what 
do you think?” Cookie just picked up 
her ball and ran back into the 
doghouse. What do border collies 
know about windmills anyway? 
 I headed for the house.
 My wife stopped me before I could 
finish the second sentence.
“Wow, isn’t that four times bigger 
than your 8 footer?” 
“I bet it weighs a ton,” she added.  
I smiled and thought again of 
some good advice my old math 
teacher gave me. “Marry a smart 
woman Mr. Moore. You’re going to need the help.”